Roam around the dense forest around a rural village in Malaysia. Pluck the white, green, or red-veined leaves off a kratom plant, and start eating it. Or, you could simply order kratom online. At a tiny dosage, the leaves would act as a stimulant that help individuals get through long hours of hard work. At much bigger dosage, they might cause indigestion, vomiting, and nausea, followed by euphoria. At a regular dose, kratom becomes a very effecting pain reliever that could take the edge off after a hard labor. Also, it could stave off heroin withdrawal symptoms.  

The leaves of kratom, also known as Mitragyna Speciosa, have been utilized for decades all over Southeast Asia for all of the properties mentioned above. The plants wildly grow in Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia, with related species ranging as far as South Africa and India.  

The use of Kratom, in the US, has surged in the previous years amid the ongoing crisis of opioid. This crisis claims tons of lives every day.  

The United States Enforcement Administration (DEA) proposed last fall classifying this plant as a schedule drug. Drugs that belong in this category have no approved medical use, and it is very onerous to acquire approval to study them.  

Opioid Effects 

In 1836, the earliest references to the use of kratom as a substitute for opioids in Western medical field appeared. However, it has been utilized for different purposes in Southeast Asia for decades.  

Mitragyna Speciosa belongs to similar family, Rubiaceae, as coffee plants. Also, it acquired its genus name from the resemblance of the leaves to the miter, the ceremonial hat of a bishop.  

Kratom’s leaves contain around 37 various alkaloids. A class of compounds that contains nitrogen. However, they have 2 main active components – mitragynine and 7-OHMG (7-hydroxymitragynine), an oxidized mitragynine analog.  

Traditionally, the word opiate has been utilized to describe drugs derived from poppy plants’ opium extracts. “Opioid” refers to the compounds, like hydrocodone, that links to the similar receptor in our body and brain that opiates do. In part, the mitragynine compounds work by connecting to the receptors, that come in 3 huge subtypes.  

Forgotten Pharmacology 

In 1921, Mitragynine was 1st isolated from the leaves of kratom by Ellen Field. Ellen Field is a medicinal chemist at the University of Edinburgh. Also, the structure of the leaves was 1st characterized by X-ray crystallography in 1964 at the University of Pittsburgh by a group led by G.A. Jeffrey. 

Since 1961, Arnold Beckett and Joseph Shellard at Chelsea College in London, across the Atlantic, had been studying the chemical structures of novel and known alkaloids in Mitragyna Speciosa and other species of Mitragyna. They examine the structure together with Ph.D. students Albert Tackie and David Phillipson.  

Strange Brews 

The greatest medical issue is the possible adulteration of products being marketed as kratom, given that kratom is legal in the United States as of now. Though there haven’t any deaths recorded from overdosing from the use of kratom, there have been several deaths caused by overdosing on kratom mixtures.